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Not Only Gertrude, but Mabel, Too

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Our conversation about women who use the nicknames Gertie or Gert as jokingly affectionate terms for each other, prompted a listener in Melbourne, Australia, to speculate that it’s a nod to Gertrude Lawrence, an English performer who rose to international fame in the early 20th century. Another possibility, though, is the character of Gertrude the telephone operator on The Jack Benny Program, a radio show in the United States that was wildly popular and ran for more than 30 years. Gertrude’s character is heard talking with her fellow operator Mabel in this episode starting at 22:30. This is part of a complete episode.

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